For Freedoms


Founded in 2016 by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms is a platform for creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action. Inspired by American artist Norman Rockwell’s paintings of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms (1941)—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear—For Freedoms’ exhibitions, installations, and public programs use art to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values, and to advocate for equality, dialogue, and civic participation. As a nexus between art, politics, commerce, and education, For Freedoms aims to inject anti-partisan, critical thinking that fine art requires into the political landscape through programming, exhibitions, and public artworks. In 2018, For Freedoms launched the 50 State Initiative: the largest creative collaboration in U.S. history.

Artist Events

For Freedoms Co-Founder Hank Willis Thomas is the artist behind They Are Us, Us Is Them, the artwork that will be installed on a barge based on SE DC and will float up and down the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, visiting Georgetown, Anacostia, and Capitol Riverfront over the course of the festival.


In connection with Hank Willis Thomas’s work on the barge, participants are encouraged to produce and publicly display their own definition of freedom by filling out signs that say:

• Freedom Of ____

• Freedom From _____

• Freedom For ______

• Freedom To______


The Four Freedoms outlined by FDR and Norman Rockwell began to articulate the human right to freedom, but the articulation of those freedoms did not apply to everyone. The lawn signs allow every participant to define freedom in their own way and articulate a vision of freedom that contains multitudes.

More details about specific dates, times, and locations for the barge, check out these location pages:

River Barge - Georgetown Waterfront
June 15- June 18

River Barge - Capitol Riverfront
June 19- June 21

River Barge - Anacostia Park
June 22- June 23